When you visit Amethysta’s website, you’ll see her tagline “Making Transgender Normal Since 2022” prominently displayed across the top. These words are at the heart of her work and everyday life. We were grateful Amethysta took the time to connect with Still I Run during Pride Month this June!
What Pride Month Means:
As a transgender woman, Amethysta has a thoughtful perspective on what pride means in the context of Pride Month. She’s not proud to be transgender. She simply is transgender. But she is proud to be transgender and capable of surviving in this society where the LGBTQ+ community is continually under attack. Although we’ve seen progress since the 1969 Stonewall riots, just this year a jaw-dropping number of anti-transgender bills have been proposed across the country.
Amethysta’s survival stems from her ability to fully embrace her gender identity and prioritize her mental health. This includes retiring from a 25-year career in software development where she had to deal with a toxic environment and turning her attention to writing and activism. Additionally, she looks to running, meditation, and the love of her wife for strength and support.
A Journey to Acceptance:
Amethysta struggled with her mental health throughout her life. She traces some of this back to severe childhood trauma. She was also diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in graduate school. She did a lot of work to address these issues, but as her wife (then girlfriend) pointed out in 2001, she still had not addressed her gender identity.
That’s when she decided to seriously explore the process of transitioning. Unfortunately, there were overwhelming obstacles to accessing gender affirming care back then. For one, she was required to talk to three psychiatrists to start on hormones. On top of these difficulties, she realizes now that she probably wasn’t ready to transition yet. As she put it, she still had work to do “peeling back the layers and getting down to the real bedrock” of her identity.
Internally, she was struggling with a sense that she was “not allowed”—not allowed to be happy, not allowed to understand herself better, not allowed to openly embrace her gender identity. She also talks about the guilt and shame that come with even considering transitioning, which is reinforced by a world that seems to scream that’s not allowed.
During the summer of 2022, she finally moved past the feelings of not being allowed and began hormone therapy. Her body responded remarkably fast and any uncertainty she may have had dissipated. She loves purple and chose a name that represented that color. Her eye-catching purple hair soon followed.
Looking to the Future:
Since her transition, Amethysta has felt a cognitive shift. Rather than avoiding pain, she can acknowledge and work through it. Running has also changed for her. Before her transition, it gave her a place to slow her thoughts and relieve stress, but she always felt like she had to run. Now running feels like a pleasure—a way to experience nature and connect with her body. It’s something she gets to do. Something she’s allowed to do. She has a beautiful future ahead.
You can learn more about Amethysta at her blog or The Dingbat Diaries where she writes about her experience and explorations of gender identity. And be sure to follow her on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.